In my beta days, I loved Damsels in Distress (DiD). They were my kryptonite. There were girls in my life who were friends or acquaintances, who I'd have no interest in dating. But one day they'd be laid low by something going on in their life, and they'd open up to me, and I'd find myself falling for them (and them for me).

I'd see a girl in genuine pain and be drawn to not just help her, but start caring about her. What can I say? They tempted me with their vulnerability. And I thought I was doing the right thing helping them out.

Well, that's changed. For people like me with a weakness for Damsels in Distress, let me break down those Damsels, and explain why helping them is the worst thing you can do.

Before I start though, a few caveats:

I'm not talking about White Knights(tm), like you see in forums here, randomly defending indefensible chicks to prove their feminist cred or get a nice pat on the head from a girl they want to bang. I'm talking an actual girl you know, who is facing something real.

I don't mean physical distress. If a woman -- or man -- is being attacked or abused, then help them, even if all you can do is call 911. No, I'm talking emotional distress. When they're sitting in a heap on your sofa bawling their eyes out.

I'm not talking about friendzoned guys who keep helping girls despite getting no reciprocal attention. They should just next the girl completely. I'm talking about situations where both of you end up falling for each other. You because she's your DiD, and her, because you're her knight in shining armor. Most of the times, it's still a bad, bad idea.

Why are relationships with Damsels in Distress so toxic? You need to understand one basic thing about women: they love drama, regardless of if it's good or bad. Guys generally hate drama, but will tolerate it if it's good drama, like two girls fighting over who gets to suck your dick first. And even that, we dispatch in a couple of seconds so we can get on with the BJ. Girls, on the other hand, love to stew in drama, marinate in it, stuff their lives with it. It makes them feel like their life is worth living, the fact that it's causing so much torment to them and people around them. That's why they do things that are completely unfathomable to guys, like stay with boyfriends that beat them, or cheat on someone because their life was "too stable". And what is Distress if not drama?

So with that understanding, imagine a damsel who lives in a kingdom with lots of puddles of quicksand. She's walking home on a road with quicksand up ahead. How does she react? Depends on what type of damsel she is:

  1. She's actually smart enough to spot the quicksand, goes around it, and continues on her merry way. This is the rare woman who doesn't like drama, is smart enough to spot it, and avoids it. She does not become a damsel in distress.

  2. She doesn't see the quicksand and falls in. But she knows how to pull herself out of it. Which she does, and then keeps walking. This woman may not have been able to spot the drama, but she knows how to solve the problem herself. She may appreciate help, but doesn't need it. She doesn't stay a DiD for very long before getting out and continuing on.

  3. She falls in and doesn't know how to get out herself. She must be rescued before she gets completely swallowed up and dies. This woman doesn't know how to spot drama, and doesn't know how to get herself out of it. But at least she wants to get out of the quicksand. So when a knight comes along and pulls her out, she's genuinely appreciative, falls in love with him, and they ride off into the sunset together.

  4. She falls in, and realizes she kinda likes all the attention as all the villagers gather and try to help her out, express sympathy for her fate, and generally make her the star of her own hit drama show, maybe even making the nightly news. Although she won't admit it, she's secretly upset when a knight finally shows up, pulls her out, and all the villagers leave and quickly forget about her. Heck, she may even refuse the first few knights that come around, just so she can stay in the quicksand longer, until she's gasping for breath and about to be swallowed up completely. The knight who eventually saves her is perplexed because instead of a kiss, all he gets is an angry stare for his good deed.

  5. This girl, when she hears that there's quicksand on a specific road, actually detours to take that road, then deliberately jumps in the quicksand. Why would anyone do such a thing? Because she's been rescued in the past so she thinks the risk of actually dying is low (there'll always be a knight around somewhere, right?), and until then, she loves the attention and being the center of all this drama. Indeed, as soon as she's pulled out by a knight, she goes looking for the next quicksand puddle to jump into. To her finding quicksand is far more important than figuring out where she's going and which road is the best one to get her there. If you decide to be her knight, you will spend the rest of your life getting panicked calls to come pull her out of quicksand that she's deliberately jumped into. Even if the sex afterwards is great, you will quickly become miserable with your life.

With that breakdown of the different types, the key to this story is to reverse the scenario: imagine now that you're a knight, with a weakness for Damsels in Distress. You hope you can find one, rescue her once, and she'll fall madly in love with you and you'll live happily ever after. IOW, you're hoping to find #3. To do so, you need to flip things around: when you come upon a random Damsel in Distress flailing around in quicksand, which one of the above 5 is she most likely to be? Even if all 5 are evenly represented among the women in this kingdom (which in real life, they're not), for any random DiD you come upon, which one of those 5 is she most likely to be?

She will never be #1, because those damsels are never in distress.

It's highly unlikely that she's #2, because she's usually pulled herself out before you even arrive.

It may be #3 (your dream girl), but remember, these damsels don't fall in quicksand very often, because they're not actively seeking it, and they get pulled out by the first knight that comes along, which means chances are, she's already gone by the time you come by.

That leaves #4, who enjoys being in the quicksand, and resents you for pulling her out, and especially:

No. 5, who enjoys it so much that she actively seeks it out.

So regardless of their distribution in the population, the distribution of damsels that you happen to find in quicksand at any given time is dominated by types 4 and 5, which will lead to misery for you.

Okay. Enough about knights and damsels. What does this mean for the real world? It means that when you come upon a Damsel in Distress, you must realize that the chances are highly likely that the Distress was self-inflicted, she enjoys it, and will likely resent you for resolving it for her. If she's crying about her boyfriend cheating on her, understand that she most likely knew that was the type of guy he was when they started dating, but she decided to date him anyway because it means she will always be "superior" to him in the relationship i.e., she threw herself in that quicksand willingly. Or, she likes the attention she gets when she's crying, the sympathy from her friends for being "wronged" by her bf, and will not appreciate it if you solve her problem and cut short her moment in the sympathy spotlight. The chances of you actually finding a "good" DiD are exceedingly low.

So there you have it. While every knight hopes for #1, 2, or 3, those are not the most frequent damsels found in distress. Most distress is willingly self-inflicted, even desired, by women, despite their protestations about how awful they feel. They are not looking for your help, and if you do help them, chances are, they will hate you for it even as you spend your life rescuing them, an increasingly tiresome chore. So stop looking for damsels in distress, and start figuring out where #1, 2, and 3 hang out. Usually, they'll be nowhere near quicksand.

(Also, knights go to battle and get slaughtered. Do not be one just to indulge your rescue fantasies.)